Friday, June 03, 2011
Government of the Corporations, By the Corporations. For the Corporations
On Thursday we got word that the Manhattan District Attorney's office subpoenaed Goldman Sachs over its activities that led to the financial crisis.
Goldman marketed risky investments betting that the housing market would continue to climb just before the whole thing melted down. The bank simultaneously reaped billions of dollars from its own bets that the housing market would collapse.
Though many Americans are looking for justice to finally be served on Wall St., this subpoena is essentially a request for information from Goldman and does not necessarily mean the company will face any charges.
Since Goldman is part of the oligarchy that rules America, I'll wager that this investigation will go nowhere.
That doesn't mean that Goldman isn't as guilty as sin, because the facts indicate they're as dirty as hell.
In April, the Senate released a 639-page report showing that Goldman had steered investors toward mortgage securities it knew would likely fail.
The report found that Goldman marketed four sets of complex mortgage securities to banks and other investors. It also found that Goldman failed to tell the banks and investors that the securities were very risky, even as they secretly bet against the investors' positions and deceived them about its own positions. The report concluded this was part of Goldman's effort to shift risk from its balance sheet to those of investors'.
This is the smoking gun that reveals Goldman to be a criminal organization that should be put out of business. But that would require justice, which we no longer have in America. Goldman has bought our government and it now owns it.
It doesn't play by the rules; it makes them.
Last summer, Goldman agreed to pay $550 million to settle civil fraud charges by the SEC of misleading buyers of mortgage-related securities. It amounted to chump change for the multi-billion dollar investment bank. The fine was a mere slap on the wrist, making the government appear to be serious and committed.
However, it isn't. The investigation is nothing more than a charade.
Goldman acknowledged that its marketing materials for the deal in question omitted key information for buyers. But it refused to admit legal wrongdoing.
When you rule the world, you never have to admit wrongdoing. And when you make the rules, you're always right.
Goldman has paid off the regulators and the Congress. And it's convinced them all that if it were to face criminal charges, it would destroy the financial system and the economy. Goldman has the whole world believing it is too big to fail.
You can call it economic blackmail. You can also call it nonsense.
This kind of chicanery and fraud isn't unique to Goldman Sachs. It's pervasive on Wall St.
Does anybody remember Repo 105? It was the arcane mechanism by which Lehman Brothers hid its debt (leverage) from the world.
Using Repo 105, Lehman temporarily swapped assets (such as bonds) for cash. A Repo, or repurchasing agreement, is a way to borrow money. But an accounting rule allowed Lehman to book the transaction as a sale and reduce its reported borrowings, according to a report by the court-appointed Lehman bankruptcy examiner last year, a former federal prosecutor.
Wall St. gets away with these outrages (or criminality) because of ineptitude at best, or complicity at worst.
The government's most basic duty is the defense of its citizens, from both foreign and domestic forces. Fraud should be regarded as one of those forces.
A robber uses force to take what is not rightfully his. A fraudster uses stealth to take what is not rightfully his. The difference comes down to force versus stealth. However, the result is the same: the loss of property by its owner and the disordering of civil society.
In refusing to hold Wall St. to the letter of the law, and revealing a willingness to be bought, conned, manipulated, connived and controlled, our government has failed miserably to perform its basic function of defending its citizens.
That has undermined the Republic and further diminished the public's waning faith in our government.